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Oilers GM says team is ‘close’ on whom they’ll take 06.24.10 at 6:28 pm ET
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Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini said that his Oilers, who are the owners of the top overall pick in Friday night’s NHL draft, have nearly reached a decision on whom they will select in Los Angeles.

“We’re close,” Tambellini said. “But we haven’t formally sat down as a group and said, ‘This is who we’re taking.’ ”

The Oilers have Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall and Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin to choose between. Seguin is the top-ranked player according to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, but many believe the gutsy winger Hall will come off the board first after an electrifying Memorial Cup performance.

With the Bruins picking second, general manager Peter Chiarelli has been in contact with Tambellini about a potential deal that would send some sort of compensation to Edmonton in order to assure Boston’s preferred  player will be available to them. The top two picks would not actually be moved in such a deal.

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Add new tag, Peter Chiarelli,
Panthers re-gifting Bruins’ pick? at 5:20 pm ET
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TSN is reporting the Panthers have been actively shopping the 15th overall pick, which was the centerpiece of the package sent to them from the Bruins in exchange for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. Darren Dreger of the Canadian sports outlet reports the pick is “most definitely in play” and that Oilers have been in contact with the Panthers, as they have been seeking another first-rounder to go along with the top overall pick in the draft.

Dreger says a potential deal might not happen until during the draft and that the Flames and Maple Leafs could also be interested.

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Don’t quit your day jobs 06.23.10 at 5:16 pm ET
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Courtesy of Oilers_Travels and retweeted by the Oilers, here are a couple of pictures of top NHL prospects Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin taking batting practice at Angel Stadium. The two are in town for the NHL draft on Friday night.

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Source: Thomas not on Philly’s radar 06.22.10 at 4:59 pm ET
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Rumors that have linked the Flyers to the Bruins in recent trade discussions might be just that, according to a source close to the situation. Though the Bruins have been shopping Tim Thomas, the goaltender is “not on [Philadelphia's] radar,” said the source. Thomas, who carries a $5 million salary cap hit will be a little easier to take on for interested teams with Tuesday’s news that the NHLPA has exercised an inflator clause to bump the salary cap up to about $59 million.

Thomas, who went 36-11-7 with a 2.10 goals against average en route to winning the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top netminder in ’08-’09, lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask this past season and had offseason hip surgery. He went 17-18-8 with a 2.56 GAA this past season and has three years remaining on his four year, $20 million deal.
Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Tim Thomas,
Horton ready to help a playoff team at 4:36 pm ET
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New Bruin Nathan Horton, who has been a 20-goal scorer in every season since 2005 and had 31 in the ’06-’07, said on Tuesday that he is determined to be a 30-goal scorer with the Bruins. Calling them a “stable, historic, and successful franchise,” Horton said he wants to be a difference-maker on a team that is no stranger to the playoffs.

“Definitely,” Horton said when asked if he is putting pressure on himself to make the Bruins the winner in a deal in which they shipped Dennis Wideman and two draft picks to the Panthers in exchange for Horton and fellow winger Gregory Campbell. “That’s what my goal is and I think it’s definitely reachable. I’m going to try my best and I’m very excited to wear the Bruins crest on my chest. I’m just very excited to be there. It’s a new opportunity and a new home and me and my family are just ecstatic right now.

“This is what every kid dreams about,” Horton added. “To be on an Original Six team and play for the Boston Bruins. I think if you’re a young kid and you’re coming in, it’s a dream come true.”

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Bruins get Horton, Campbell for Wideman, picks at 1:58 pm ET
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TSN’s Bob McKenzie has reported the Bruins have traded Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in Friday’s NHL draft, and a 3rd-round pick in 2011 to the Panthers in exchange for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. A source told WEEI.com Sunday night that Horton expected to be traded and that the Bruins were close to acquiring him.

Horton, who was the third overall pick by the Panthers in ’03 and the answer to any draft-day trivia question involving Marc-Andre Fluery (he was the player the Panthers took after trading down two spots and giving the top pick to the Penguins), hasn’t put up numbers that scream “top pick” in his NHL career. He has had just one 30-goal season (31 in ’06-’07) and hasn’t totaled more than 62 points in any of his six seasons.

The Bruins will likely play Horton at right wing after he spent the last two seasons playing center for the Panthers. Perhaps a move back to his natural position will lead to improved offensive output.

The Panthers had been trying to unload Horton, who carries a $4 million cap hit in each of the next three seasons. In trading Wideman and his $3,937,500 cap hit, the deal comes off as a financial wash. Campbell is a restricted free agent after carrying an $800,000 cap hit last season. Additionally, by not taking a player with the 15th overall pick (or higher had they moved up), the Bruins won’t be committed to a performance bonus-laden contract. If the cap stays as $56.8 million the Bruins would currently have just under $5 million in cap space, not accounting for an estimated $3.75 cap hit for Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin.

Wideman was far from a fan favorite in Boston despite posting a plus-32 in the ’08-’09 season. Campbell, on the other hand is the son of NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. Should be an interesting exchange with Marc Savard on take-your-father-to-work day…

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Dennis Wideman, Nathan Horton,
NHL Mock Draft: T-minus four days 06.21.10 at 6:00 am ET
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Four more days until the NHL draft and it’s still looking like Taylor Hall will reign supreme in the Taylor/Tyler debate. This mock draft sees a few changes from last week, though I’d be crazy to switch as many picks as we do in the NFL mock drafts. This is because, unlike the NFL, these guys don’t see their stocks bounce all over the place from day to day. If you think Tyler Toffoli should go to Anaheim one week, you’ll probably think it the next week. There is a top 10 shakeup, however, as I think the Lightning will opt for Mikael Granlund at No. 6 and the Hurricanes will go for defense early.

1. Edmonton Oilers (62 points) Taylor Hall, LW, Windsor (OHL)

Nothing has changed in the last week, and though a team in need of help across the board may benefit more from a playmaking center, Hall’s Memorial Cup performance narrowly gives him the edge over Seguin. Don’t be surprised if the Oilers stay in this spot and still select Seguin, as they could prefer him or be talked into it by the Bruins and a nice compensation package.

2. Boston Bruins [from Toronto (74 points)] Tyler Seguin, C, Plymouth (OHL)

Peter Chiarelli said last week that if the Bruins are to make any deal with the Oilers, it is more likely that it isn’t an actual swap of picks, but rather a trade that would include a promise from the Oilers to lay off their guy. Whomever they get, they’ll be in great shape. Here’s one to think about: If the Bruins end up with Seguin, who in Plymouth wanted to wear No. 19 in honor of Steve Yzerman, the player to whom he is often compared, does he take Joe Thornton’s old number?

3. Florida Panthers (77 points) Cam Fowler, D, Windsor (OHL)

This is how we do it in the NFL mocks: If you think a team is going to trade up and take a certain player, you project the player in the slot so you can have half the pick right, and I’m bringing the theory with me to the NHL. I really believe (based on nothing — this is a total hunch) that the Bruins will move up from No. 15 and back into the top five. Why? Because they can. They have all the ammunition, and who’s to say the talks for Nathan Horton don’t include the Panthers’ first-rounder coming to Boston?

4. Columbus Blue Jackets (79 points) Brett Connolly, LW, Prince George (WHL)

You know your team is in rough shape when a trade rumor is dismissed by the public because nobody believes a player would accept a trade to go there. If the Blue Jackets can’t upgrade offensively with Marc Savard, they’ll have to do so with Connolly, who should help them improve from their ’09-’10 total of 214 goals.

5. New York Islanders (79 points) Erik Gudbranson, D, Kingston (OHL)

The idea of Gudbranson being around at No. 5 sounds pretty crazy, and if the Panthers keep their pick there is a good chance he’ll be gone at No. 3, but I just don’t have enough confidence that Florida will stay put. This allows the Islanders to get a big and tough defenseman at a steal.

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Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,
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